Sunday, May 21, 2006

Giting er done

Swan Island Criterium
Portland, OR
May 21, 2006

The Swan Island Criterium took place in the Swan Island industrial park. The road is flat and in good condition. Two wide right hand turns and a sweeping arc returns racers to the start/finish. It was a full day of racing with a full list of road categories- including the fixed gear group which was a motley crew of 25 plus racers that included roadies, trackies, messengers and those of us freaks that just prefer it fixed. What's the cliche?: "If it's not fixed, it's broken."

Overcast skies met racers and spectators at the Swan Island Criterium on Sunday May 21, 2006. The clouds broke occasionally for some hot Oregon (is that an oxymoron?) spring sunshine. For the most part it could not have been better race weather.

I raced the fixed gear category with a 42 x 15 gear ratio (I rode out to the course with a 42 x 17 and smartly flipped it 20 minutes before the start (thanks to my fixed/fixed flip flop hub).

The race was a 30 minute + a lap affair that started at 12:30 pm. The first and only crash of the race took place 50 feet after the start. Thankfully I made it through unscathed. The rest of the race was fast (21 -28 mph... fast for fixed gear) and smooth. My first race of the season jitters eased off after a lap or two.

Coming around the corner in the pack

There was a breakaway by a single rider after the first couple of laps. He rode about 1/8 lap up from the front group for the next 4 or 5 laps as the guys in the front group seamingly refused to exert any extra energy to work together to catch him. I took off the front to chase him down mid way through lap 7 and closed the gap only to have the group come around me for the first prime. I did manage to keep my momentum going and I hung on to the tail of the lead group to rest. I took my turn at the front a few more times through out the afternoon up until the last 2 laps which turned into a full sprint to the finish with the 'lazy' (or maybe 'smart?) guys from the back of the lead group coming around the leaders.

Leading the pack for a lap or two

I was able to mostly hang on to the lead riders and ended up in 7th place. I cracked the top 10, so I am happy with myself for my first race of the season. Especially since this is on of my first flat fast crits. I did have a bit of a photo finish with a guy that tried to pass me on the line. I beat him by less than a wheel length.

Just past the start/finish line. Note the bozo that tried to pass me...

Post race shot. Note the pain

This was a really well organized raced. We are blessed here in Oregon for our bike friendliness and our wonderful bike promoters as well as the overarching race organization - OBRA.
BTW: The best part of the race was probably having my own cheering section - My wife, daughter and son were there to cheer me on each lap. There is nothing else like it.

Photo credits: Megan Porter

No comments: